Is Jesus worth it? This is a question we face on a regular basis in our christian culture today. If you were raised in church, the answer to this question may seem an obvious “yes,” but when we actually stop to think about it, does the meditation of our heart or the action of our hands show He is?
The first question that needs to be addressed is this: what’s the “it”? Matthew 16:24-25 says, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” The “it” is everything. It’s our whole lives. It’s our hopes, our dreams, our desires, our wishes. It’s the outcomes we desire. It’s our 5 year plan. It’s our family, sports, fame, money, influence, etc.
If we really sit with this question, most of us may arrive to the conclusion that we’re not sure He is worth all of that. We’re told that He is, but do we actually know this for ourselves? Instead of throwing a bunch of theological reasons into this post, which would all point to the answer being “yes, Jesus IS worth it,” we’re going to share what we’ve seen God do in Southeast Asia over the past two years to help answer this question.
Two years ago, we went on an outreach to Southeast Asia purely because of the word of the Lord. It was a country we had never been to, a nation that wasn’t really on our minds but when we sat and asked God where to go, we got this nation and the doors were opened. In obedience, we went. That trip wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. Our team was the first western team to visit in a long time. The food was totally different than what we are used to, the hotel wasn’t the most clean, many days were rainy and it was hard to make new friends when everyone was inside. AND YET, God moved. We were able to make friends with people and share Jesus in ways we weren’t expecting. Each week, we hosted an English club and shared a story of Jesus’ life with our friends and towards the end of the trip, we shared the Gospel and explained that Jesus is who all of these stories are about. To our surprise, a sense of injustice rose up inside of our new friends and some of then became angry they were just now hearing about who Jesus is.
To our surprise, a sense of injustice rose up inside of our new friends and some of then became angry they were just now hearing about who Jesus is.
We had the opportunity to go back a little over a year later. Our Christian friends had been encouraged because ever since we had gone the first time, there was consistently a team there to come alongside them to help run the English club as well as disciple and preach in their church. The English club we helped begin now had three different locations in multiple parts of the country. The club had been so successful that when we arrived, they were in the process of finalizing their first curriculum! We saw God move again. We were able to share the Gospel with many people we met in just the first week of knowing them. We came alongside the church and walked some of the new believers through certain discipleship principles. One girl was struggling with forgiving her dad and after a conversation about forgiveness, she was able to forgive him. People were coming to the English club who wanted nothing to do with Jesus, yet learned about Him because they wanted to learn English. One guy came atheist and through conversations ended up telling us that he now believes God exists.
People were coming to the English club who wanted nothing to do with Jesus, yet learned about Him because they wanted to learn English.
A few months ago, we went again. Like the last times, many seeds were planted, friendships were formed and Gospel conversations were had. The Christians were encouraged yet again as we continued coming alongside them and their ministry and the vision they have for their own nation. A team member met a man on a bench and in that same conversation they started talking about Jesus and the man gave his life to Jesus. There was a tribe in the mountain region that had heard who Jesus was through a radio and our team was able to go for a few days to help disciple them. One night a week, many of the students who attended a nearby university would hang out at the student square, so that’s what we would do, too. Normally, we would sing a few worship songs and maybe act out some bible stories and have the others guess what story we were acting out. One particular night, we presented a gospel drama. After an explanation and a little more conversation, 20 of our friends who weren’t Christians decided to give their lives to Jesus. This trip, we saw fruit that may or may not have been connected to previous trips. Regardless, these people are hungry for truth and are seeing it change their lives.
In the laying down, there is a promise. Jesus says, “Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Jesus says we will actually find our life after we lose it! The cost of following Jesus is huge. It’s a cost that should be weighed out. Once you take your first “yes,” there’s not really any turning around. The cost is great, but the rewards are even greater. If adults are mad when they find out who Jesus is after not hearing about Him their whole lives, and a whole mountain tribe came to know Jesus through a radio, a man on a bench is going to ask who Jesus is and give his life to Him in the same conversation, and 20 university students give their lives to Jesus after seeing a Gospel drama and hearing the Gospel for themselves, there must be something to this Jesus thing. The Gospel is changing lives in Southeast Asia and we would be foolish to not let it change ours too.
The trips we go on aren’t for fun or to get away. The trips we go are are because there is a real God who wants relationship with the people He has created and has made a way for that to happen through sending His son, Jesus, “who, though He was in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped. Instead, He emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2: 6-8) There are people in the modern world who have yet to hear any of this. They are stuck in bondage and darkness with no way of getting out because they have no idea there is one.
…do you think Jesus is worth it?